Category Archives: Helpful Thinking

Staying out of the loop. Creating your own circuit-breaker!

One of the characteristics of the depression experience is to get lost in the loop of negativity. The more we try to think our way out of the mental labyrinth with our mind circling down into the deeper pit of sadness, the more locked and immobilized we become.

So, how do we stay out of the swirling cycle of despair? The loop is our master taking over our minds and emotions. Once we have managed to stay out of the loop, I discovered what frees me and breaks the chain that shackles my motivation.

What I find helpful and kind of simple is to distract myself and do something that takes me out of the loop momentarily as I focus on something else. This something else could be to go for a walk. Talk to a friend. Go to a mall. Visit a lonely friend. Choose your own distracter.

I will give a personal example where I found a distraction strategy that works. Because I was wearing out my mind with my continuous negative swirling thoughts, I was reminded how fatigue is an indicator of feeling depressed and helpless. When I became tired, I would automatically head for the coach. This just prolonged the pain, and it was when I said, “No, not this time,” I went to my desk and started to do some work on my computer. In a short time, my mind was focused on my writing and not on the assumption that I needed a nap. Even though I am no longer depressed, I still find this distraction strategy a real loop-breaker.

So, if you find yourself beating yourself up, ruminating, and mentally circling round and round, going nowhere but down, you’ll need at last 5 circuit-breakers ready to plug in when the looping begins. Be prepared!

Share this idea/strategy at your Depressed Anonymous meetings and let others in the group try it out when their own loop starts rolling.

Hugh

Roadblocks and pitfalls in recovery

I think sometimes people have the idea that recovery is a straight line angled upward with a positive slope.  For me, that is not the case.   My recovery is a conglomeration of sine waves, bumps, upward swoops, pot holes, and squiggly lines.  Overall, it does have a positive upward slope.  In other words, as the promises state, I have more good days than bad. Today, I have many more good days than bad.

But what to do on those bad days?  That is the question.  How do I navigate recovery when I am in a downward slope, have a roadblock or a pitfall?  How do I get through this period of mild depression?

First of all, I remind myself that This too shall pass.  It may sound cliché, but it is true!  If I am having a difficult day, I do not have to let it become a bad couple of days or a bad week.  I do not have to let it go to a moderate or severe depression.  Sometimes I can even limit it to bad moments.  The point is, this depressing feeling will not last forever.  I do have a choice to realize that it is temporary, to do something about it and not let it take over.

So what do I do about it?

The program gives me tools.  It’s up to me to use them.  Sometimes I have to pray for the willingness to use them.  The willingness to help myself undepress myself and stop being a victim.  When I’m in a pitfall, I feel alone and isolated. That is my disease talking to me.  The reality is that I’m in a program with people who understand me and care about me.  I can reach out to them and be honest about how I’m feeling.  This simple but sometimes difficult action really does help me a lot.  By telling on my feelings, I feel less isolated and more connected to others.   Another thing I do is journal to my Higher Power.  I tell my Higher Power what I’m thinking and feeling.  Sometimes I follow it up with journaling from my Higher Power to me.  This is the voice of truth.  This helps me to contradict those negative thoughts and see the truth as my Higher Power sees it.   When I’m in a slump, I’ve learned that it’s okay to be in a slump and to be kind and loving with myself through this period.  I’ve learned that my recovery is not a straight line upwards, and that it’s okay for me to have some squiggly parts and bumps in that recovery journey.  I can learn to give myself that same love and compassion that I would give another struggling person.  Another tool I like to use is the “way to go self” list.  When I’m in a slump, I focus on the negative, specifically those “I’m not good enough” statements.  I neglect seeing my positives.  So I make a list of my assets or those things that I am doing well, or those things that I am accomplishing.  And I’ll give myself double stars for doing something positive when I don’t feel like doing it – because that is extra difficult for me!  So by making a point to look at the positive things I am doing, it helps me gain clarity and see the positives.

To sum up, bumps in the road of recovery are part of the process for me today.  It doesn’t mean I’m bad or need to shame myself.  It means that life happens, and now I have an opportunity to use the tools this program gives me – IF I choose to do so.

Stacy S

I started to realize that I was depressed seven or eight years ago

The following is an account of how Bill, a member of Depressed Anonymous, shares his story of recovery. There could be a possibility that his story might be your own story. Part of Bill’s story is reprinted here. Let’s see what Bill has to say. (His story is part of a series of personal accounts illustrating the life changes of those attending who are members of Depressed Anonymous).

I became an active member of Depressed Anonymous after seeing my counselor for three or four months. I never knew that I was depressed. I never understood. I know that I needed to make changes in my life. Many depressed people have trouble, namely, not being able to admit that something is truly wrong in their lives and that they need to change.

…It started after the breakup with a girlfriend. I was devastated. I had good friends at work. I am well educated with two degrees after my name, but I wasn’t fulfilled. My world was falling apart. I had two jobs. I lost my girl. I wanted to be left alone. The burden was too real. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. I just wanted to be left alone to be isolated and bored. It was tough. I was nasty and mean. I sometimes still behave like this. I get angry and I get frustrated and get upset with myself.

Gradually by attending the DA meetings Bill had this to say:

We were a small group at first. In this group, we all had a story, and we had to let it out. I thought that no one could be in as bad shape as I was in. I thought everyone was perfectly happy. We started the Depressed Anonymous group about a year ago. We took one step at a time.

Bill shares his final thoughts with us that:

… this is my short story. I was down and I was out. I really couldn’t care at one time if I lived or died. Now I do. It really didn’t matter. I met a great woman and decided to get married. I couldn’t have done it without Depressed Anonymous. It’s a wonderful experience. I’m learning how to take care of myself. I met a lot of new friends at Depressed Anonymous. It takes time to change. It may not work for everyone. But without Depressed Anonymous, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I can say that the above is true for me as well.

Hugh S.

You can read the entire account of Bill’s compelling recovery in Depressed Anonymous, 2011, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 150-151.

The highest form of wisdom is kindness – The Talmud

When I share at our Depressed Anonymous fellowship meetings (online or virtual) my story is always met with kindness. No one tells me that I ‘shoulda’ or ‘woulda’ or ‘coulda’ done this or that differently. No, the group listens and shares their own thoughts on the issue at hand. The main feature of our fellowship sharing is for each of us to speak in the first person and share what has or has not worked for them.

Kindness kindles kindness. This is the strength of our fellowship. We are here for our recovery; we hope to be treated with the same respect as we would treat another. To tell our story – possibly for the first time – is quite a challenge for most of us. Depressed Anonymous, presents an important fact

“…that the more we share our story with other members of the Depressed Anonymous group, the more we can hear for the first time our own unique story. It is amazing how, when we speak to others about ourselves and our addictions, we begin to loosen up and release in ourselves a new sense of ourselves – freedom to express our true selves. It is at these times when we discuss our addiction at the Depressed Anonymous meetings that we get first-hand information and feedback on how others are working free of their sadness and hollowness.” (Depressed Anonymous., p.79.)

Resource
Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Hope is an essential part of the human DNA

The fingerprint of God is on all living creatures, great and small. Each of us has been imprinted with the creators. God has for us to discover the way of personal peace and serenity. He has provided us with a set of fingerprints, all uniquely our own.
In John Powel’s book Through Seasons of the Heart, 1986, he shares the following.

“There is a Christian tradition that God sends each person into the world with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with a special act of love to bestow. These are entrusted only to me. No one else can speak my message, sing my song, or offer my act of love. Think about this quote today. What is the message that God wants you to give today? What is the message that only you can give? What is the only act of love that you can bestow to others today?”

I believe this is true. Bill W. and Dr. Bob came into my broken and messed up world with the message that the God of their understanding had given them. And now, I, with others, are bringing the same message of hope and healing to the world.

The only song that I can share is “O Happy day.” This is the song that I now sing because I have come into the world with God’s fingerprint on my soul. The message I am to share with others is not to give up on yourself if you are depressed. Know that you can recover. You have God’s fingerprint of love on your heart! You are never alone.

Hugh

Resources

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (1998. 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook 2002, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

Happy Independence Day

I live in the United States and today we celebrate our freedom. We are all captives of something or someone. Some of us are captives to addiction: drugs, alcohol, or some behavior. Many of us here have been captives of anxiety and depression. Many people are trapped in consumerism.

There is however a way out. Apply spiritual disciplines to your life, you will be surprised by the results. We are all trying to find our way to the God of our understanding. Some of us go down the side roads of addiction and depression, but you don’t have to continue down that route. Get in communion with the God of your understanding.

If you’ve been burned by past interactions with religion – theory and doctrine, or by people who misinterpreted God’s message I have a suggestion for you. Explore the mystical sects of the religion of your youth. Islam has the Sufi’s, if you’re Christian read the works of Thomas Merton, or Saint John of the Cross. The mystics all talk about experiencing the presence of God in your life. Explore.

You have a choice: you can either be a host to God, or a hostage to self. Choose to be free!

We learn to be nice

Are you a “nice” guy or gal? Is there a relationship between wanting to be “nice” and being “co-dependent”? I think so. And why is being nice so important? Is it that if you weren’t nice, people wouldn’t like you anymore? Is this a possibility?

Personally, I had found myself being “nice” when I was boiling with anger at something someone said or did. All this with a smile on my face. Crazy? What makes us want to be “nice” when inside we are ready to blow our top?

Here are some of my thoughts about being “nice.” For example, I want to be a good guy. If I am not agreeable, I may lose a friendship or a relationship. So, in the process of being agreeable, we lose a piece of who we are and the values that we espouse.
How can I be “nice” and still be honest?

For more about being “nice,” click on the blog at the Archives for September 3rd, 2015. https://depressedanon.com/1091/
Also, check out the word Anger at Categories.

Be yourself, everyone else is taken – Oscar Wilde

I agree. Be yourself. Who else can we be? That is a great question. Oscar Wilde got it right. How many times do you and I try to be something that we are not?
Many times, in the past we may have tried to please everyone. We lived our life – well, not really, as much of our living depended on other’s approval of what we said and did. Other people’s opinion of us was more important than our own. Remember the old saying that “Other people were living in our head rent free!” How true. We always depended on others to tell us how we felt. Is this not insane?
Yes, it is!
Today is different for those of us who have gradually erected boundaries on our behaviors and thinking about ourselves – not some other person’s opinion of us. I gradually became myself the more I interacted with those persons who accepted me the way I am. They didn’t attempt to change me. They laid out for me a plan to be myself. That plan is the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous in which I am able to identify my strong points and work on my defects of character. The virtual DA meetings plus face-to-face meetings with people like myself, continue to help me grow and thrive and be myself.
Yes, Oscar was right, that “everyone else is taken”. Why continue to be someone else when being yourself is authentic “you.”
The Depressed Anonymous fellowship grows authentic relationships where you can be yourself, today, tomorrow, and the next day.
Hugh

Living in the security of my hope.

” I am choosing to live in the security of my hope rather than in the fear of life’s possible pain.”

To read this article, please click onto the Archives located on the home page of Depressed Anonymous.
Click onto the year 2016, February 21. You will be able to find this article and many more at this Archived location.